Esports Team Management 101: Value as a Manager

At face value, many people see a manager of a small, unsigned team as someone who just looks for scrims, reach out to free agents for tryouts or record VODs. It’s true, there are a lot of administrative things that managers do. However, there is one thing that many people don’t see and poor managers fail to realize about their role: Good managers provide a strong foundation to a team. Understanding this value will give you a better understanding of how to be a good manager.

To be a strong foundation to your team, you need to provide them with three things: reliability, thoroughness and transparency. You don’t necessarily need to know a lot about the game at a high level, but if you can provide these three things, as a manager, you should be able to get by.

 

RELIABILITY

Reliability, to me, is the biggest part of being a manager. Players need to focus on improving themselves and they can’t be worrying about administrative details for a team. Your players should not have to constantly ask when scrims are, if they’re signed up for a tournament or any other behind the scenes works. If you are a reliable manager, your players should show up when you have them scheduled to scrim, compete or do VOD reviews.

Another part of this is that if players need you, you need to be there for them. There will be times where you set up scrims and it’s ready to go, but all of a sudden, your scrim partner is unable to show up. This happens far too often. When something like this happens, your team will rely on you to find a new scrim partner or to find alternatives.

Your reliability, especially with scrims and warm ups, affects other teams as well. Here’s an example I have that screwed my team over: I had set up a warm up scrim before Open Division with another team manager. My players were ready in a lobby and the other team’s captain was there. However, not all their players showed up and by then it was too late to find another team to warm up with. I messaged the manager and explained my frustration and he placed the blame on his players, saying they should have known there was a warm up. Yes, it’s true his players should have shown up when they did, but it was up to the manager to make sure his players were ready to go and if not, find a ringer. Instead, not only were my players not able to warm up, but neither were his players. He is definitely not a reliable manager.

 

THOROUGHNESS

Thoroughness is basically attention to detail. This is something you may not be able to do at first, which is fine in my opinion. Being thorough is a trait that can be learned and sometimes you may not even know what to look for at first. There’s so much information to take in and share as a manager that it can be overwhelming. Here are some quick tips to get you started:

  1. Write down information you need beforehand
  2. Regarding tournaments, be sure to read and re-read through everything
  3. Create templates and schedules
  4. Be familiar with programs like Excel

These are very generic tips so I do want to elaborate in future posts so please be on the lookout for those!

 

TRANSPARENCY

The last thing you should be as a manager is to be transparent with your players. There’s a couple of component to this: transparency in expectations and transparency with information. When bringing in new players, you need to be transparent about what you expect out of them. Let them know your goal as a team, to show up 10 minutes before scrims, to attend VOD reviews, and so on. If one of your players is not meeting your expectations, be open to them and let them know to perform better and any potential consequences if they don’t get better.

You also need to be transparent with information. Granted, there are some information that players don’t need to know because it’s just irrelevant for them. I can’t think of an example off the top of my head when I had to be transparent with my players about certain information. The only one is probably when another team manager and I were in a private discussion about a dispute they had against our team during Open Division. I kept my players in the loop of what  was going on and to assure them that they were going to get the win.

Transparency is probably the hardest one I had to deal with because as the not-so-old adage goes, the truth hurts. There are some things that you have to tell your players that will hurt them.

 

So yeah that’s basically it! To new managers out there, keep these three things in mind throughout your career or even if it’s a short run as a manager. Being a manager is not just a title. It’s not just clout you gain by running good teams under your belt. Managers will be known by how they treat their players so always remember that. But that is it for me. I will see you next time!

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